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Types of work permits: What are the main types of residence permits?

Blog | Credit | Various

What are the different work permits in Switzerland? What are the conditions to obtain an authorization as a foreigner? What is the period of validity? We offer you an explanation on this subject and on the possibility to get or not a credit as a foreigner living in Switzerland.

What is a residence permit?

A residence permit (or work permit) is a document, which authorises the owner to reside in the country for a more or less long period. There exists different types of work permits according to the person’s situation. Furthermore, these permits influence your rights as a foreign national. The type of permit also determines:

  • The period of validity, which is the period you can reside in Switzerland before you can renew the permit or leave the country.
  • The access to certain financial services, like a consumer credit, a credit card or a pension provision or more…

Most of the residence permits allow you a complete geographical and professional mobility in Switzerland since the first of June 2007. This is the case for the following permits: B, C, G and L.

One same document: different names

Although the official term is “work permit”, there are different names to refer to it like:

  • Work permit
  • Residence permit
  • Establishment permit
  • Circulation authorization

Who gives those authorizations?

The document is given by the canton’s population service in which you reside. In the case of French borderers, it is the canton’s population service in which you work that provides you the document. The procedure to get this document depends on the person’s origin. For example, Nationals of the European Union or belonging to EFTA who wish to work in Switzerland, can begin the procedure through their employer. The person has to provide the following documents:

  • An identity card or passport
  • A work certificate from the employer
  • A completed authorization request form (employer and employee have to fill it)
  • Depending on the canton: an extract of your police record

The cost can be between 65 and 90 CHF and can vary from canton to canton.

What are the main types of residence permits?

EU/EFTA nationals move to Switzerland with a:

Each document differentiates itself with the terms of allocation, the validity period and the terms of credit granting:

Permits Conditions of allocation Validity period Possibility to obtain a credit?
B permit Employment contract or confirmation of engagement with at least a 12 months period 5 years Yes, at least 6 months working with the same employer.
C permit A 5 year residence in Switzerland at least Indeterminate Yes, at least 3 months working with the same employer or as an independent for at least 2 years.
G permit Employment contract or confirmation of engagement 5 years, or an engagement period of one year Yes, if the permit has been possessed for at least 3 to 4 years
L permit Contract or engagement confirmation of a minimum 4 months period Depends on the contract, maximum 12 months, can be renewed No

Obtaining a credit with a work permit

Depending on the permit and its restrictions, people residing in Switzerland can obtain a consumer credit. Be careful, filling the credit request condition does not guarantee you its acquirement. General credit terms apply.

Legitimation cards

Other then the establishment authorisations, there are also legitimation cards. These cards are a substitute for a residence permit and are valid for the same amount of time. Furthermore, these cards are given to embassy or NGO workers. Those who possess this card can ask for a credit with the same terms as Swiss citizens.